The first Mcfarlane movie in theaters is now open and the film, based on the famous Canadian artist’s original drawings, is a vibrant addition to the Dark Knight franchise.
Set in an urban jungle where the cops are not always easy to trust, the movie brings to life the Gothic adventures of a band of vigilantes led by Batman (Ben Affleck). Through a combination of live-action and animation, fans and critics have praised the film for its visual style and storytelling, which many credit to the talented and hilarious Tiffany Haddish (Bojack Horseman).
Hitting theaters today, January 10, the movie serves as a perfect follow-up to Zack Snyder’s 2016 release, Justice League, which fused DC Comics’ greatest superheroes into one huge team. With the exception of Aquaman, whose solo outing is coming in 2018, this is the first time that all the heroes have been featured on screen in one movie since 2007’s Superman Lives!
The Visual Style Is On-Point
While critics have hailed Bojack Horseman’s Tiffany Haddish for her portrayal of the fast-talking Dora Milcher, the design of the movie’s titular character has also drawn praise.
The legendary artist, Bill Mcfarlane, is responsible for some of the most iconic images in comics history. Born in Toronto in 1934, Mcfarlane began his career as a comic book artist in the 1950s, illustrating stories for Canadian humor magazines like Mad Magazine. Impressed by his work, Mad Magazine publisher Ralph Gleason asked Mcfarlane to join his team. Soon after, Dell Comics published the artist’s first American comic, Shazam!, in April of 1964. Since then, Mcfarlane’s work has graced the pages of many famous comics, including DC Comics’ The New Age of Conan, and his most recent work, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, has become an anime sensation. Most recently, Bill Mcfarlane’s artwork was featured as a set decoration in the Netflix hit, Stranger Things.
BoJack Horseman is known for his bizarre yet lovable characters and off-color humor. While he’s never been particularly famous for his work in the comics world, fans of the television series may recognize Bojack Horseman as an animated version of his comic book character, Mr. Bojack Horseman.
In case you didn’t know, Bojack Horseman wears a mask not to hide his identity but because he is a terrible actor and doesn’t like to talk to people. Bojack Horseman: A Brief History of Manic Depression is a semi-autobiographical story about Bojack Horseman’s struggles with mental illness. It was written and illustrated by Mcfarlane and was published by Marvel Comics in 2014. In addition to his design work, Mcfarlane provided the artwork for the official Bojack Horseman T-shirt worn by the cast and crew during the shoot.
While this might not seem like a typical superhero setup, the creative team behind Titans pulled off one of the most exciting crossovers in recent memory. As the name would suggest, Titans is essentially a team of superheroes – albeit flawed ones – operating in a world where superheroes are commonplace. Working with the creative director of the Dark Knight franchise, Christian Bale, the duo delivered a surprising and exciting conclusion to the year-long Marvel vs. DC Comics crossover event that pitted heroes from both sides against one another. As a result of their efforts, the DC Comics side of the universe was forever changed.
The Cast Is Out-of-this-World
While Bojack Horseman’s Mr. Bojack Horseman may be responsible for some of the coolest sets in superhero movies, the design team behind Titans had a bit of a challenge in making sure that the creatures and environments fit inside a movie theater. To give you an idea of the kind of sights you’ll see on the screen, let’s take a look at some of the amazing creatures created by the movie’s art director, Nathan Crowley:
1. The Giant Space Flea: We won’t ruin the surprise by revealing its identity, but it’s safe to assume that you know which insectoid monster we’re talking about. This is the Giant Space Flea from the Transformers movie, whose appearance set off a wave of nostalgia among fans of the popular franchise.
2. Armored Core: Nowadays, we take it for granted that big brutes with laser rifles are a common sight on the big screen. But in the hands of acclaimed director, Michael Bay, this “mecha” turned into an otherworldly creature that was both awe-inspiring and terrifying.
3. Grimlock: Here comes the giant bird. Yes, the giant bird from the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. While we didn’t get a good look at it, director Ron Howard’s Instagram reveal of the majestic wild goose brought to life by special effects designers, Dan Taylor and Derek Thompson, gave us a clue as to what to expect from these majestic creatures.
Tell Me More About This Animated Series
Just like Bojack Horseman, we don’t always get the opportunity to review comic books. But when we do, it’s usually because they’re on the lighter side or are a prequel or sequel to a beloved movie or TV show. For example, Daredevil, the first comic book ever to be adapted into a movie, was originally published as a five-issue limited series that chronicled the adventures of the Punisher – who was inspired by the Frank Castle character from the 1966 television series, “The Dirty Dozen.” If you’re unfamiliar, the Punisher is a masked vigilante who takes justice into his own hands. Something to keep in mind if you’re planning on seeing the movie today.
Anyway, back to Bojack Horseman. Before we wrap this up, let’s take a quick moment to discuss how much we love Netflix. Not only does the streaming platform allow us to consume content whenever we want – which is great for movie fans like us – but it also provides a home for some amazing animated series. From the mind of Bojack Horseman creator, Carl Icaza, comes a witty adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, headlined by the incomparable Will Ferrell and featuring an all-star cast, including Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, and Olivia Wilde. Set in a contemporary day and age, the plot focuses on a horse that’s best described as “manifest destiny incarnate.” With the exception of a brief appearance by Ariel, the series is presented in a mixture of live-action and animation.
If you’re not familiar with the animated comedy series, Bojack Horseman, give it a watch. You won’t be disappointed.